Education and Awareness
Georgia Council on Lupus

Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

What Are the Common Symptoms of SLE?

Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness in Atlanta, Georgia provides this diagram to help you identify if the physical changes you or someone you know is experiencing are indicative of SLE.

How Is SLE Diagnosed?

SLE is chronic, complex, and often difficult to diagnose. First, there is no single laboratory test that can determine if a person has SLE. Second, many symptoms of SLE are similar to those of other diseases and can come and go over weeks and months.


Finally, doctors must look at a person’s medical history, rule out other diseases, and consider both physical and laboratory evidence before an SLE diagnosis. The symptoms of SLE vary from patient to patient.

Eleven Criteria of Lupus

The American College of Rheumatology established “Eleven Criteria of Lupus” to help make or exclude a diagnosis of SLE. If your doctor finds that you have at least four of the 11 symptoms listed below and finds no other reason for them, you may have SLE:

1. Malar Rash – Butterfly-Shaped Rash Across Cheeks and Nose


2. Discoid (Skin) Rash – Raised Red Patches


3. Photosensitivity – Skin Rash as Result of Unusual Reaction to Sunlight


4. Mouth or Nose Ulcers – Usually Painless


5. Arthritis (Nonerosive) in Two or More Joints, Along With Tenderness, Swelling, or Effusion – With nonerosive arthritis, the bones around the joints don’t get destroyed.


6. Cardiopulmonary Involvement – Inflammation of the Lining Around the Heart (Pericarditis) and/or Lungs (Pleuritis)


7. Neurologic (Brain) Disorder – Seizures and/or Psychosis


8. Renal (Kidney) Disorder – Excessive Protein or Cellular Casts in the Urine


9. Hematologic (Blood) Disorder – Hemolytic Anemia, Low White Blood Cell Count, or Low Platelet Count


10. Immunologic Disorder – Antibodies to Double Stranded DNA, Antibodies to Sm, or Antibodies to Cardiolipin


11. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) – Positive Test in the Absence of Drugs Known to Induce It